The bassist: a vital backbone to every band whose rhythmic prowess and low-end gravity aid metal in reaching new realms of heaviness, or a band member who’s just lucky to be here and owes the guitarists their livelihood? It’s well known that bassists take a lot of shit in heavy metal, with their handiwork sometimes mixed out of their music altogether. At the same time, metal’s history with the blues means that bass guitar was vital in locking down its uniquely powerful sound. This raises the question: why is so much of the rock world pissed off about the person with only four strings?
On this week’s episode of our metal talk show Last Words, hosts Doc Coyle (Bad Wolves/Ex Man Podcast) and Zeena Koda (Everything’s Political Podcast) ask this question and more with one of heavy music’s most accomplished bass players: Doug Pinnick of pivotal prog metallers King’s X. The crew discuss all things low end, including the undeniable fact that the rock world often treats bass players with a disdain they don’t deserve.
“Bass players are sort of the red-headed step-children of the rock game,” says Doc. “Do you feel under-appreciated as a bass player? Do you feel that there are not a lot of people like you, who stand out on the instrument?”
“Yeah, I do,” says Doug. “To be blunt, it’s so underappreciated that bass players became eight-string guitar players and djent happened. I always talk about age, but I’ve been playing bass since ’73, so I’ve seen a lot of different bass players in different genres happen…I was alive when they put an upright bass down and played a regular Fender P-Bass, and the war that everyone had playing it, that you weren’t cool if you played an electric bass, you know?”
Watch the whole episode below:
And if that doesn’t have you making the Flea O-face, listen to the full, uncensored podcast version of this episode below:
Words by Chris Krovatin